Fort: Charter Schools Bill Will Decimate Public Systems
Cascade lawmaker criticizes GOP 'arm-twisting,' 'power plays.'
State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) had sharp criticism for Republican leadership in their handling of House Resolution 1162, the Charter Schools Amendment.
"I have served in the state Senate for 16 years," said Fort, whose district includes part of southwest Atlanta. "And never have I seen the arm-twisting and power plays made by Republicans and their lobbyists that I have seen on this charter schools amendment."
On Monday, in a bipartisan vote of 40-16, the state Senate passed HR 1162 , a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to create charter schools.
The amendment will be sent to voters this fall.
Currently, only local school districts have the authority to approve or reject charter school petitions. Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled the then-existing Georgia Charter School Commission unconstitutional in a 4-3 vote.
Fort criticized the GOP-led Senate for what he called attempts to limit and close the floor debate for a measure that he believes will ultimately hurt Georgia's students.
"Peel back the layers of the onion and what is revealed is a $400 million charter school management business coupled with underlying real estate deals," Fort said. "Not surprisingly, the largest and most profitable charter schools management company in Florida is the very same one in Gwinnett County that started the legal challenge in Georgia."
"Our limping school systems will be financially decimated when we redirect funding to these barely public charter schools - schools that create a parallel school system. Some of these multimillion dollar management contract amounts could fund entire school budgets in some areas of our state," Fort said.